Report: Iran Linked to Massacre
Dec. 25, 1997
JERUSALEM (AP) _ An Israeli newspaper reported Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Israel has linked Iran to last month's massacre of 58 foreign tourists by Islamic militants in Luxor, Egypt. Iran strongly denied the charge.
U.S. Ambassador Edward Walker said at a meeting Tuesday with Israel's foreign minister, David Levy, that the Iranian embassy in Damascus was involved in the Nov. 17 attack, the Jerusalem Post reported, quoting unidentified diplomatic sources.
``That is not exactly what I said. ... My conversations with the foreign minister are my business,'' Walker said Wednesday, refusing to elaborate further.
Gunmen disguised as policemen attacked the tourists at one of the renowned Pharaonic Temples in upper Egypt. Four Egyptians and the six attackers also were killed.
In Iran's capital, Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmoud Mohammadi denied Iran had any connection to the attack.
``Iran condemns any terrorist attack in the strongest terms, and clearly states that it had nothing to do with last month's attack in Egypt,'' he told The Associated Press. ``The American ambassador's reported comments, trying to link Iran to the killing of tourists in Egypt, reflects the worry in Zionist circles over growing ties between Tehran and Cairo.''
Relations between Egypt and Iran, tense since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, took a positive turn since Iran hosted an Islamic summit in Tehran earlier this month. The Organization of the Islamic Conference summit was attended by Egypt's foreign minister, Amr Moussa.
The Jerusalem Post said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did not to attend the conference himself because of his belief that Iran was involved with Islamic terrorism in Egypt.
Mubarak said Wednesday that better relations with Iran depended on the outcome of recent contacts between officials of the two countries, Egypt's Middle East News Agency reported.